Monday, June 30, 2014

The Long Goodbye

This afternoon saw the Gorse Fox head up to town for a farewell drink with several of his old colleagues.
As the Gorse Fox arrived a bit early, he went in to check the venue - a well-known haunt for Starfleet. They had reserved the mezzanine for GF and the manager showed him round and asked about payment arrangements (a tab, or everyone for themselves) and whether we would also like any food.

Ordering a few platters and sorting out a tab, Gorse Fox said he was going for a walk and would be back in 20 minutes.

Though the clouds looked threatening, it was still warm and sunny, and the Southbank is always vibrant and interesting.
 There was evidently a theme of "Love" to all of the decoration around the Southbank. GF suspects it is left over from the Gay Pride weekend just past.

Certainly it was bright!
 From the bridge spanning the Thames you could see the colourful stalls that lined the river bank. Strangely, for during the Winter these often sell food and souvenirs, they didn't seem to be selling anything, but were just colourful booths in which to sit and watch the world go by.
 Heading up-river slightly the booths were replaced by a funfair and the entrance to Udderbelly comedy store. Just out of sight is the Millennium Wheel and the old Count Hall complex.
It is a lovely place to just go and wander about and watch the world go by.

As the Gorse Fox started his return journey he climbed up to the bridge level and, passing the Festival Hall, he was accosted by a young lad - probably 15-18 years old. The lad rushed up to him and asked if he could take a "selfie" with GF. Somewhat taken aback, GF acquiesced and the lad held out his phone and standing up close with GF, framed the picture and took the picture. He thanked GF and as he went to leave, GF asked "Why?" The lad explained he was just approaching people at random and taking these photos. GF was a random victim.
Gorse Fox headed back to venue and soon after he arrived, Deep Blue turned up. For the next few hours various colleagues arrived and we had a few drinks and nibbled at the platters they brought along.

Several colleagues couldn't make it - Starfleet demanding they be in Edinburgh, or Manchester, or stuck in office managing quarter-end. However, it really was a lovely couple of hours.


5...

The final run-down.

GF has a few calls scheduled and is then heading for London this afternoon where he is meeting up with some colleagues for a farewell drink.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Stuff

On this day many, many years ago. When electricity was still new-fangled, when London was monochrome, and quite possibly, Roman Centurions roamed the streets - GF was presented with a little sister. Happy Birthday, Sis.

Other than that, nothing too special about today - just stuff.

The stuff started with some more tidying up of the data backups. Over the years it had become a little convoluted and GF needed to rationalise some of the locations and copies that had built up over the years.

Mowing the lawns was more stuff... but as it has been so dry, the grass hadn't grown much. This was fairly quick. The Silver Vixen was trimming a vine in the garden, so GF still had a fair bit of rubbish to take along to the dump.

Other than that, there wasn't too much to report.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Data Security

The Gorse Fox is paranoid about data protection. As a result he frequently reviews his backup regime to ensure everything of value is copied to some backup device, and that it is also stored "off-site" in the "Cloud".

The role of managing backups has fallen to Eagle, his PC, for the last few years. It was however becoming a little convoluted and a good backup regime should be simple and easily understood. Also, Eagle is not switched on all of the time. It was time to move the backup controls to Condor, GF's iMac.

So it was that the new regime was designed (yes, GF applies architectural principles even to his home computers) and documented. Then GF downloaded a bit of software that was analogous to that run Eagle for Condor. The individual schedules were developed (different folders have different requirements regarding frequency or even destination of backup). Everything started to click into place and the new backups have started.

On a different subject, GF was glad to see Brazil get through to the next round of the World Cup - even if it was a penalty shoot-out with Chile, in the end. GF was not keen on Chile's play-acting and whining. Similarly it was great to see Uruguay given their come-uppance by Colombia.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Special Evening

It is the Gorse Fox's little sister's birthday this weekend. We had arranged to meet with them for dinner in Chichester. GF had booked "Amelie and Friends", based on the reviews in Trip Advisor.

The restaurant was busy - probably because of the Festival of Speed - but we were shown straight to our table where we went on to enjoy a superb meal. Appetisers of home made breads and of pork crackling; starters of bruschetta, of smoked haddock, and of crab; and main dishes of Onglet steak, and of sea bass. Everything was cooked to perfection and presented beautifully.

This was a good choice. Trip Advisor had provided good counsel.

When we finished the meal J&T came back to the house where we sat and continued our conversations from dinner - the news of the kids, their health, the new house, the England Football Team, the World Cup in general, and the family in Canada. It was a lovely evening, and all too soon they had to leave and head home.

Festival

This weekend sees Glastonbury taking over much of the airwaves. However, despite the hype, there is another festival. Here in Chichester we have the annual Festival of Speed. This means that the A27 becomes impassible for hours on end - but it also means that the Gorse Fox can wander into the front garden (as he did this morning) and watch the Red Arrows go through their display in skies between Goodwood and Fontwell.

6...

Yesterday was a huge step forward - 42 documents were added to the portfolio and that only leaves a handful. Gf will try to make inroads on them when he has woken up fully.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It wasn't me then

The Gorse Fox's Samsung Netbook is back. The Mr Fixit ordered a second new battery and that too failed to charge. He then swapped the battery with another Netbook he had hanging around - the alternate batter worked and charged fine in GF's machine; the new batteries failed to charge in either. The problem is evidently with the batteries.

Mr Fixit gave GF the alternate battery and Sammy is now home and happy.

7...

Back to the document portfolio today (after sorting out some stuff for Cousteau-cub).

There are a number of document defined within the portfolio that will essentially be blank canvasses for the author to write their own content. This is because the content is likely to be so unique to each project that model document is difficult to create, or because different projects will demand different interpretations of what should be included. This means that progress on these is very quick and GF is getting through a significant number of such templates in just a few hours.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

8...

Today saw the Gorse Fox travelling up to meet with Jean-Luc Picard in Middle Earth. The journey north was remarkably trouble-free - and now GF's wheel-bearing has been fixed, wonderfully quiet again. GF will miss his stealth craft when he has to part with it.

The work was, to some extents, a status check and hand-over. J-L needed to know if anything would be left when GF goes, or whether he would have cleared the lot. He also reviewed some of the other details - like GF's style guide, and help guides. Those these were essentially created for his own benefit, these are now wanted as part of the overall portfolio.

Review complete, we headed to a nearby restaurant for a farewell lunch. We sat overlooking the countryside of Middle Earth, with the canal just below us. Canal boats pottered silently by as far as the lock where people leapt out to handle the gates. Just away to our east a mill could be seen among the trees. It was a lovely spot - and GF is amazed that this was the first time he had been there, after 30 years of travelling to and from Middle Earth.

Bidding farewell, GF got on the road and headed back to the Coast. It's all very fine going to Middle Earth, but it's a long way from the edges.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ubiquity

The advantage of the relative ubiquity of WiFi and mobile phone signals is that when the Gorse Fox needs to get his car serviced (or a wheel bearing fixed - as in this case) - he can drive to the dealer, leave the car and settle down in their waiting room whilst remaining online and accessible to work, throughout.

9...

The day started with a request to convert an old file to GF's new format. There should be a straightforward way to do this, but MS Word has some quirks that do not allow a simple copy and paste from one template to another without compromising the styles that have been defined. Sometimes it works if the author has been consistent, but usually you end up with a mess that takes ages to unpick. GF adopts the approach that it is quicker to copy the data as unformatted text and then apply formatting-styles than it is to clean up the mess. It may have taken a couple of hours - but it is done, and complies with the template GF has defined (and all the US spelling has been corrected).

GF was pleased that Brazil finally switched up a gear and played some good football last night against Cameroon. The next round should be interesting with a Brazil-Chile game set up for the weekend

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gene pool

You have to worry about the quality of the gene pool. Customer Service Agents from Opodo have been revealing some of the complaints and questions they have received.
  • When one customer's flight from the UK to Miami was cancelled, the man asked whether he could take the Eurostar to the American city instead.
  • One customer called about the sand on the beach in Mexico claiming that it had too many pebbles, one of which had chipped her manicure.
  • A thrill-seeker who had booked a trip to Universal Studios, Florida, requested a refund for his trip as one of the rides, the Incredible Hulk rollercoaster, had been too scary.
  • A customer called about her holiday abroad as it was “too hot,” the food “too spicy” and “hardly anyone spoke English.”

Countdown begins: 10...

Ten working days to go. The Gorse Fox is has a distinct lack of motivation this morning. The weather looks glorious, and it would be much more appropriate to be sitting outside with a glass of sangria, than sitting in front of a screen trying to finish off some of the outstanding documents.

P.S. Was glad to see the Colonies did well in the World Cup last night. It's a shame the Portingales managed to equalise in the dying minutes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Admin

It has been a good morning.

The Gorse Fox has spent time going through his "Money Dashboard" account and clearing up some previously uncategorised transactions. There were about 130 all told but he has it down well below 100 now - and may of them would be allocated if there was a suitable category. The one big draw-back of Money Dashboard though is the inability to manage and allocate categories as you would like.

We managed to have an online chat with Cousteau-cub. GF started the chat, and then handed over to the Silver Vixen as she hadn't chatted for a while. Meanwhile GF headed out to the mow the lawns. As it has been fairly dry over the past few weeks, the grass hadn't grown too much - fortunately.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Order, order!

The Gorse Fox decided today was the day. It was suitable close to the end of the quarter that he may be able to negotiate some deals.
First stop was to order the new car for the Silver Vixen. It took a few hours to get the deal done and the paperwork completed, but in the end GF was happy that he had negotiated a good deal, and he was getting the top of the range car for the price of the next model down.

Overall the deal is working out less than he had budgeted. The only issue now is how long it will take to deliver - given that it is a factory-build (i.e. no stock exists that matches our spec).

GF suspects it will be October before it is available - but at at least we get what we wanted.

After grabbing a bite of lunch we headed back out. It was time to order a car for the Gorse Fox.

Again, it was an opportunity to do a deal. Again, some straight-forward negotiation, and an approach that said "I understand you are in business to make a profit, but you need to try and compete with the online broker price" managed to get a good bargain with about 12% knocked off the price.

Again, the car is factory build - in order to meet the spec. required. GF suspects that, again, this is likely to mean October before it's ready. The beauty is that we aren't in any hurry.

Friday, June 20, 2014

It was good

Despite the trouble with the SatNav in his dream last night, the Gorse Fox has had a good day. Several calls interrupted his progress, but he has managed to create an assessment sheet that will automate the assessment of a nascent project and decide whether it can be considered as "Lite" or "Low Fat" from a workload migration perspective.

Why was this worth mentioning? Well GF has created a simple visualisation that effectively moves a button around a graph to show the scale and complexity of the task - according to the questions answered. Furthermore, the graph depicts some thresholds (which were an absolute nightmare to produce) to cordon off the "Low Fat" from the high octane (to mix metaphors).

A rhetorical question perhaps, but could Microsoft have made the creation and formatting of bubble charts any more difficult?

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen has been away with her coven at Sandown Park. GF is not sure whether any of the old nags won any of the races, but no doubt the quilt show kept them busy.

Where to?

The Gorse Fox seemed to spend an inordinate amount of his dreams last night trying to find the address of a venue to enter into his SatNav in order to attend a VM User Group in Buenos Aires!

The Silver Vixen is convinced it is because he has spent so long working that now he's retiring, he doesn't know where he's going! Personally, GF thinks it's just that he's unhinged.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Headlines

The Gorse Fox can only assume that the warmonger Blair is back in charge somehow. BBC Sports news reports: "England will attack Uruguay"

Come to daddy

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen's Nespresso coffee machine has just been returned. New pump has been fitted, and it now works a treat.

Normal service can now resume.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Printing

More progress made during the day - though it was at a snail's pace. Over 100 documents now nestling in the portfolio that GF will leave.

He received a call from Springbok, a colleague with whom had worked last year. Springbok is deeply disillusioned by work in his division of Starfleet. He has been interviewed by one of the managers in GF's division and was asking for the Gorse Fox's opinion. GF laid it on the line:

  • He would have professional, full-time managers, not professionals who had to fit in the management role round a full time-fee-earning role.
  • He would be expected to work hard, but he is measured against his 37 hour contract, not some arbitrary 44 hour expectation
  • His utilisation targets would be lower (55-70%, not 85%)
  • His division would be focussed on technology, and technologists were respected - as opposed to being cannon fodder in practise full of self-opinionated, ill-informed, project managers and fly-by-night consultants
  • Only expected to be away 3 nights a week, if at all
  • Some interesting roles in the pipeline

Seemed like a no-brainer to the Gorse Fox.

During the afternoon GF re-installed Silver Vixen's printer, switching it from USB to Wireless mode. This revealed that it had an Airprint feature, allowing printing directly from iPhones or iPads. Nice little bonus.

Talking of bonuses - GF received a voucher from Prezzo, the restaurant chain. This seemed like a good excuse, so GF and Silver Vixen headed for Arundel and enjoyed an Italian-themed meal. The surroundings were beautifully laid out in what was once a wine bar, if GF remembers correctly. Light oak panelling, lots of mirrors and a large orangery at the back, over what was once a courtyard. Very tastefully done. The food was good too!

Answer

In answer to the Daily Telegraph's headline "Why are so many goals being scored in Brazil?" the Gorse Fox would venture: "Because that is where the World Cup is being played at present".

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Disappointed

Well, GF has been looking at Belgium as a dark horse for the the World Cup, but tonight's display was disappointing. They won the game (against Algeria) but really made heavy weather of it. They will need to improve a lot to be in contention.

Having said that, Brazil (the favourites) were stemmed back by Mexico and despite their lapse into a typical South American style of play-acting (cheating) there seemed to be nothing Brazil could do to break down the disciplined Mexico team.

Not much to report

Tuesday has been quiet. GF was glad to see the US had won their World Cup match last night and was looking forward to the Belgium game and the Brazil game later. The Silver Vixen was out with her coven for the day, and the Gorse Fox continued to develop the documents he has been working on for the past month or so. Not exactly riveting stuff, but it feels good to get them out of the way - one by one.

Deep Blue called. He had been scoping out a possible venue for the GF's farewell drink. Sounds like the ideal place - but shame about the fact they want a guaranteed spend of £1000 in order to reserve us an area of the bar. Now GF and his colleagues have been known to have a thirst, but he suspects that is just a fantasy. He has volunteered to review a couple of further venues so that GF can compare.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Passphrase

Starfleet has a deserved paranoia regarding the security of its systems and this extends to smart phones that provide access to Starfleet's mail system. This paranoia expresses itself by insisting on an 8 (or more) character passphrase to unlock said phone before it can be used. This renders a very useful device about as irritating as shutting your fingers in the car door.

Today, an alarm went off. The Gorse Fox had a scheduled call in 5 minutes. He gracefully finished what he was doing and grabbed the phone. He entered the passphrase (mistyping it the first time). The phone stared at him blankly then popped up the message that it was time to change his passphrase. There had been no previous warning - but it had to be done NOW.

Despite having just entered his old passphrase, he was asked to enter it again. Then he had to set a new passphrase - the first attempt at which broke some rule or other and another had to be selected. That had to be repeated to make sure GF really meant it. By this time, the phone was in  danger of becoming a projectile. The passphrase was accepted and the phone presented itself, finally, as a usable device on which the Gorse Fox could have his teleconference with Jean-Luc Picard.

GF will not be upset when he can strip all this Starfleet security from the phone and he can return to the standard security measures.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Picnic

The forecast had been for a nice day - the forecast was optimistic. It was overcast and a little chilly. We had, in ancient English tradition, decided to have a picnic in the grounds of Petworth House along with Urban-cub and her family. The decision was made a week or so back, and ratified yesterday.

The first problem was that arriving in Petworth, access to the House was blocked by a road closure for a cycle race. We hit the mobile phone and intercepted Urban-cub and re-directed her to Parham House.

The second problem was that Parham House was hosting the Sussex County Fair, or some such event. As a result we were directed into a field far away from the House and Gardens. Here we parked and were filtered towards the main entrance to the event. One look at the prices told us, tents, and fairground told us that this was not what we had in mind.

We returned to the cars, exited the field and drove back onto the Estate. This time we ignored the signs and headed for the House. Much better.


The weather was at least staying dry, so we got out the picnic things and sat overlooking the House and Church whilst we munched through our various snacks. Urban-cub had presented the GF with a lovely canvas featuring the photographic highlights of our last trip to Thailand. - it was super, and featured several photos the Gorse Fox had not previously seen.


Once the picnic was finished and packed away, U-c and her family left, and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox went for a stroll around the gardens. These were quite beautiful - but with some sunshine, would have been stunning.

Purring about Pirlo, Pah!

The Gorse Fox is frustrated about the way the pundits purr about the Italian midfielder Pirlo. That is not to detract from his undoubted skill. GF would observe, however, that anyone can look slick and commanding if every time they receive the ball, the opposition backs off and gives them space.

The papers are full of positive reports regarding last nights World Cup game in Manaus. There was, certainly, much to be positive about. However, there is the basic problem of letting the Italians have the ball. The Holland team, the night before, showed that if you get in among the oppositions and disrupt their play, and give them no space and no time to dwell on the ball - then you can break them down. We seemed to accept that whenever the Italians got the ball we would back off and try to defend around the box - a deeply flawed tactic. Defend high up the pitch - keep them pinned back.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cosy

When we finally move in to the new house there will be a gaping hole in the living room. The house has a chimney and a space for a fireplace - but no actual grate or fire surround. It was time we gave this some consideration.

So it was that we headed to Ford where there is a large fireplace showroom. When the Gorse Fox says large, he means astonishingly large. We wandered around for an hour or two looking at the various offerings and trying to decide what would best suit the room. Unsurprisingly we both had similar thoughts and liked the same designs - but in a place that big, that didn't narrow things down significantly. We spoke with one of the assistants and he, clearly passionate about his job, took us back and forth between models explaining the features, the pros and the cons of each fire and each fire surround that fitted our ever developing criteria.

In the end we had chosen - now all we need is to get to the house so they can sort out the survey and fitting. GF is not sure how often the fire will be used, but it will be nice to have it there for the odd occasions we may need to top the heating up.

Meanwhile, back at home the Gorse Fox has finished going through the pension forms, and has had a chat with the HMRC to ensure he understands the tax position. He has one more number to complete on one form - which he will do on Monday after speaking to the Starfleet Pensions Trust... and then it will be sealed in an envelope and returned - decision made.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Numbers

Finally the numbers have come through for Gorse Fox's pension. Now he has to decide how to take the fund. Due to a) the disgraceful and disingenuous behaviour or Starfleet over the pension scheme (and as censured by the British Courts); and b) the theft of over £100Bn pounds from UK pension funds by Gordon Brown, Gorse Fox isn't getting as much as he has planned on 20 years ago. However, he is lucky compared to many.  

Now he just needs to determine how much to take as a pension, and how much to take as as tax-free lump sum. Now this is not an arbitrary decsion... one wants to be comfortable, yet have flexible options for the future. He called his brother-in-law as a sounding board and got some good advice.

Now, the sums have been done. The tax implications have been considered. The monthly and annual budgets have been estimated. Now Gorse Fox needs to sleep on it and revisit all the calculations tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sammy, again

The Samsung Netbook is back with Mr Fixit. The charger has been checked and is delivering the right voltage, the pins on the motherboard are also delivering the right voltage - so the problem must lie with the new battery... so the Gorse Fox left it with him to get replaced and checked out.

On a brighter note, the chappie came with the stand-in Nespresso machine and took ours away to be fixed. At least GF should be able to get his fix! Unfortunately the replacement doesn't have a milk steamer/frother so the Silver Vixen will have to rely on copious amounts of hot milk.

News-speak

The Gorse Fox notices the headline: "UN deplores militants' capture of cities" in reference to the events in Iraq this week. He would imagine that the militants are quaking in their boots at such censure!

While we ponder the full impact of the UN's displeasure, the Gorse Fox would note the following use of English in the media:
Irritation becomes Fury or Rage
Annoyance becomes Disgust
Bug become Massive Flaw
Problem becomes Crisis
CCTV becomes Spy camera

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Panic

A sense of panic has set in. The Nespresso coffee machine has just failed after the Gorse Fox went through the descale cycle.

Phoned the technical help desk and they are collecting the machine tomorrow - and providing a replacement while it's being fixed. Still, the Gorse Fox has to complete the day without the requisite infusions of coffee-based caffeine.

While talking of panic, GF notes the email he received from Old Father Time(OFT) this morning (subject was GF's impending retirement):
"Well done Granddad, you've made it.
Be warned, it's a holiday at first, then the shock sets in. You become a 'non-person' outside society, no status. Being 'Retired' carries a stigma... 
A hobby won't suffice, no interaction with colleagues, no mutual respect.
After a year I looked for work. Agencies told me I'd be a threat to whoever was reading my C.V. - No have chance, you will have to lie in the C.V. or work for a charity.
Don't despair, it passes... Then you start to not give a (expletive deleted) when you realise most retired people are hard up and you ain't! 
Good luck mucker... Going out with your slippers on and fly undone becomes a habit."
Perhaps a little cynical - but that's OFT for you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Imprimatur

The Silver Vixen has been suffering with an intermittent problem whereby her laptop seems to lose sight of the printer. Once this has happened there seems to be almost no way of resurrecting the connection. The frustrating thing is that the laptop can ping the printer and gets an immediate response.

Gorse Fox has decided enough is enough and ordered a new printer for the Silver Vixen that can be directly attacked to laptop. No excuses.

Whilst talking of frustration, a new charger arrived for the Netbook. It isn't a cheap knock-off it is a genuine Samsung charger - but having said that it doesn't actually fit the plug in the side of the Netboook, so GF is having to return it. Pah!

Pros and Cons

The Gorse Fox was woken by the furry alarm we refer to as Jasper. Jasper started whining just before six and started walking up and down the bed soon after. GF had no option but to get up and let him out and feed him.

The advantage of this early start was that it is such a beautiful day. Wall to wall blue sky. It makes the spirit soar.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Back to bite

Regular readers will know that last year's appraisals were tense. One appraisal that GF had to deliver was not as good as the colleague expected, and whilst GF explained the reason for the the rating given, the person in question would not accept the appraisal.

An informal review was held, giving the Gorse Fox a chance, once more, to revisit the rating and explain the reasoning behind it. The person in question again rejected the appraisal and ultimately raised a grievance that GF had not explained why the particular rating was given.

Today the case was finally heard, and GF spent an hour or so on the phone answering a battery of questions. Without pre-judging the outcome, GF feels fairly strongly that he will hear no more - and he has been completely vindicated.

Meanwhile - back at the day job - GF has managed to plough on and create templates for a significant number of documents today. If he can keep this rate up - which he doubts - he will complete the portfolio by early next week.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Right Stuff

The Gorse Fox met a chap during the week that is evidently made of the Right Stuff. He was a German colleague who, like the Gorse Fox, has worked for Starfleet for a long time. Indeed he was on assignment in the same part  of the Starfleet US estate as GF used to visit regularly. We chatted about old haunts and great restaurants and generally reminisced.

He then went on to explain he had a car like that driven by the Gorse Fox, but that he had been working in the automotive sector. He had developed some stuff for Mercedes-Benz that had brought in many tens of millions of euros for Starfleet. He had recently been assigned to BMW. The Exec he was working with objected to his car in the BMW car park and took him to one side and suggested he "got a premium brand".

My colleague returned to Starfleet and searched through the pool. Next time he visited the he parked a top of the range E-class Mercedes in the car park. The Exec again took him to one side and said "I thought I told you to get a BMW" to which my colleague responded - "No - in fact you said a Premium Brand; and by the way Mercedes spend more than ten times what you do with Starfleet every year - when you match that I may get a BMW"

Definitely the Right Stuff.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sammy

The Gorse Fox has just got his old Samsung Netbook back from the chap who has been fixing the keyboard. Problem is that it hasn't had any updates for over a year, and it has taken all day today to get all of the security updates downloaded and applied. While this was going on GF cleaned off some of the old stuff that was no longer required. It does seem slow after the Mac.

Unfortunately it seems to have a further problem - it won't charge and hold the charge on the battery. This is a new battery, so the problem is obviously with the charger, or with the circuitry in the Netbook that manages charging. GF has ordered a new charger to see if that solves the problem.

Threatening

The weather forecast spoke of thunderstorms and flash floods for today. It certainly looks threatening at present. We'll see what emerges.

And as if by magic - there is a huge rumble of thunder!

Closing out the week

The Gorse Fox is back home for Friday. There was no way he was going to sit through a further day of lectures by the two colleagues that had so comprehensively bored him yesterday afternoon.

One of the first mails to arrive contained an estimating spreadsheet that Jean-Luc had wanted adapting to use the Gorse Fox's standard template. This should have been a fairly straightforward task.... but as the details were copied across, GF started to understand the construction of the data. This is when he noted how different the approach to spreadsheet construction had been from that which the Gorse Fox would have used.

The simple copy and reformat task became a copy and restructure task. It took longer this way, but at the end the spreadsheet was much better.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Pain

GF and Jean-Luc Picard have finished and handed over to some Starfleet colleagues from the US to tell us about a tool they have developed.

This is painful... their presentation technique is dreadful - bordering on utterly useless and the tool - which was meant to be the great panacea for our projects, barely scratches the surface of the problems we have to address.

The good thing is that it should make the class appreciate Jean-Luc and Gorse Fox!

Day 3

Well yesterday's class finished well and we arranged a class dinner at a local restaurant in Middle Earth. It was thrashing down with rain, so whilst GF had planned to walk the couple miles from the hotel to the restaurant, he ended up taking a cab.

The meal was excellent, considering there was such a large group. GF's colleagues were great fun and we had a really interesting evening.

We are now into Day 3 of the class and GF is waiting for the class to finish the first exercise of the day. He only has one more session to deliver... and then will listen whilst Jean-Luc finishes off the final sessions.

GF has changed his plans and will head home at the end of the day as tomorrow's agenda (a separate subject) really holds little value for the Gorse Fox.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Day 2

Day one went very well and Gorse Fox even had dinner with several of the students. This actually gave hime a chance to clarify some of the questions they had outstanding from the day. It also gave a chance to talk (to German colleagues) about the World Cup.

Day 2 is well under way with the class split into their syndicate rooms to complete the second of this morning's exercises. GF has also completed his first lecture of the day and now has a couple of hours of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard to listen to before he is next up on his feet.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

And so it begins

The Gorse Fox is in Middle Earth. Starfleet colleagues have arrived from all over Europe and we are now several hours into Day 1 of the class.

The attendees were a bit quiet to start with, but have now got over their initial shyness and are fully engaged in the class. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Cracking through

The Gorse Fox has been on a mission! He has cracked through another handful of documents that will form part of the overall portfolio of documents and templates he plans to leave as his legacy. Slowly the number outstanding is decreasing... but whether it is feasible to complete the whole canon is yet to be seen.

GF is off to Middle Earth for the rest of the week where he will be teaching, so whilst he may get the odd bits done here and there, he suspects progress will be slow.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Feeling satisfied

The lawns got done, the hedges were trimmed (where they encroached on neighbours, or the paths), and the edges were whipped into shape.

Twelve bags of trimmings were loaded into the car and deposited at the tip.

Now a quiet afternoon with a the Silver Vixen, sitting in the sun and enjoying a jug of sangria. The only thing missing is the lapping of the waves on the beach... but living some six or seven miles inland now, that seems like a tall order.

Trouble

The trouble with being an early riser is that when you are at your most productive and itching to do things - you have to wait until a sensible hour so that you don't disturb neighbours and loved ones. The Gorse Fox has been for quite a while and wants to get out to mow the lawns - but feels, for the sake of the neighbours - he needs to wait until at least 10:30 before firing up the mower.